Young! But you, my Girl, when you arrive at Fifty, will think no more of being old, than does Your affectionate Uncle
My Love to your good Mama, and to Suky, with my Thanks for her Care of you in your Illness. Tell her I now forgive her for selling her Good Luck.
"ONCE a printer, always a printer" is a generalization to which there may be exceptions, but Franklin was not one of them. Although he retired from the active management of his printing office in 1747, signing a contract with his partner David Hall for a share of the profits for eighteen years, he never lost his interest and pride in the craft through which he had made his start in life. During his years in England and France he observed closely the developments in the printer's art and found opportunities to get to know the leading type designers and founders, paper makers, and printers in those countries. In France he established a small press of his own at his home in Passy and found occasional relaxation in setting type himself. His last will, written in 1788, opens proudly with the words: "I, Benjamin Franklin, of Philadelphia, printer."
William Caslon has been commonly regarded as the leading designer and founder of type in England in the eighteenth century. He was rivaled in his day only by John Baskerville, a younger man, whose edition of Virgil, published in 1757, produced something of a sensation and was admired by many connoisseurs, including Franklin. The more ardent devotees of Caslon, however, found much to criticize in Baskerville's types. Upon one such opinionated critic Franklin played a harmless but celebrated trick.